Hockey

It seems fitting that the Hawks would get a double dose of the Avalanche this week after the city received it’s first real snowfall of the year and season on essentially back to back days. And after for the most part not really having any kind of answer for the solidly middle ground Minnesota Wild for over the weekend, this week certainly doesn’t bode well. There hasn’t really been a particularly good time for the Hawks to face the Avs over the past few seasons, but right now seems particularly bad given how things have been going in Denver for a while now.

1/24 – at Colorado

Game Time – 8:00PM CST
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago+, WGN-AM 720
Frontier Psychiatrist – Mile High Hockey

When last the Hawks saw the Avs, Cale Makar was putting Kirby Dach in a covid-infested blender before burying an OT winner on his backhand from an angle few would even attempt let alone roof and water bottle. Since then the Avs have gone 9-0-1, and are 17-2-2 since the beginning of December. This run has caused them to ascend to their rightful place atop the Central and the Western Conference, and has them only two points behind Tampa and the Cats for the best record in the league, and they have games in hand on both. They’re tops in the league in scoring at 4.15 goals per game, and second in goal differential, only one behind Florida with the aforementioned games in hand. They have five players averaging over a point a game, including the prohibitive favorite for Norris in Makar. And they’ve been doing it all with a 53 share, so this isn’t exactly a fluke- nor was it ever constructed any other way. Darcy Keumper has been fine with a .913, which is more than serviceable with an offense like this. Quite simply, keeping a game competitive and not getting embarrassed right now is really all that can be asked of this Hawks team, and even that feels like kind of a reach.

1/26 – at Detroit

Game Time – 6:30PM CST
TV/Radio – TNT, WGN-AM 720
Pointes High Class of ’87 ReunionWinging It

Right now, delusional Red Wings weirdos will tell anyone who will listen that this team is ahead of schedule and they’re better than they have any right to be and they’re FUN and they’re just outside of a wild card spot. And while some of that is partially true – Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider have been the first real Wings prospects to actually jump to the show and make an impact since now-captain Dylan Larkin SEVEN years ago, the reality of the situation is that while yes, there is no one between them and the last wild card spot, there are 8 points between them and the Bruins, and 11 between the next closest team in the Leafs, with each of them having four games in hand. They also have a goal differential of -26 with Alex Nedjelkovic having a wholly respectable .926 at evens in 30 appearances. So while there are some bright spots here, there is nowhere near enough offense on this roster as presently constituted. That being said, the offense here is still getting more than the Hawks are currently (2.67 goals per game to 2.34) while having a particularly dire power play at 14.8% where only the Coyotes and Habs are worse. This game will be on TNT for obvious television market reasons, but certainly not for the quality of play. Neither of these two teams are even wacky-bad anymore, it’s just boring low event hockey from both sides as that’s the only way either can hang on for dear life against better competition. But who knows, maybe these two sub-mediocre teams may produce an entertaining spectacle on the national broadcast out of being so evenly matched. Don’t count on it however.

1/28 – vs Avalanche

Game Time – 7:30PM CST
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Summit County Mountain Retreats – Mile High Hockey

Same as above but at Club 1901 this time. The Avs host Boston on Wednesday, which is the headliner late game on TNT after the Hawks/Wings opening act. And oh yeah, the Avs have won 15 straight at Pepsi Ball Bag Arena or whatever.

Everything Else

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Game Time: 6:00PM CDT
TV/Radio: WGN, NHLN (US), WGN-AM 720
Panther Like A Panther: Litter Box Cats

With the season coming around the final turn, the Hawks find themselves nearly completely clear of divisional and conference play with 10% of the schedule still remaining. Of the eight games left, only one is against a Central opponent, and since it’s Colorado it doesn’t even really count anyway. And the first five of that stretch are all against eastern conference opponents, beginning with a Florida trip starting tonight in Sunrise before swinging up to Tampa on Monday.

Live From The Five Hole

After the bye week, we return with a very special edition of Live From The Five Hole, as the esteemed Scott Powers of The Athletic  joins us and gives some great insight about the current state of the Hawks as the playoff push begins, as well as a great look at some of the prospects coming down the pike. We even subjected him to some of the weirdo questions that we have been fielding lately and he handled himself with predictable style and grace. And it’s a good thing too, as Sam was eaten by the internet monster about a quarter way into the ‘cast (sky point). Grab the audio after the jump.

Everything Else

Box Score
Natural Stat Trick

By now the stats have been beaten into the ground, that teams coming of the newly mandated bye week are like 3-948-3, and naturally the Hawks fell victim to it themselves, and in doing so snapped a 5 game winning streak, all of which came on the road. But while they lost another winnable game on home ice as their chances for the division rapidly evaporate, the main fear was that they would look disinterested or lethargic, and that was anything but the case.

Everything Else

Merry Christmas and Happy second night of Hanukkah from all of us (along with Mike and El)here at the soon to be former TCI offices. We’ll soon be rolling out the new site and domain name, hopefully right at the turn of the year, so in the meantime have a safe and happy holiday, and we’ll reconvene Tuesday afternoon for previewing the Jets.

And grab RTJ3. Do it now, motherfuckers.

Everything Else

run the jewels el-p killer mike

Sometimes the greatest successes come at a time when it’s seemingly the last shot for them. Such is the case for both the translucent ginger bearded El-P and the moutainous neckbearded Killer Mike, who together in the last three years have emerged as rap’s most formidable duo while both being well north of 35 years old. But their rise to the top was anything but overnight.

Hailing from Brooklyn, El-P cut his first records with the beloved Company Flow collective, which famously held the motto “Independent As Fuck”. After the group’s dissolution, El struck out on his own both creatively and in the business realm, founding and running the Definitive Jux record label, which gave a platform to such amazing acts as Cannibal Ox, Murs, and former beard of the day Aesop Rock. All three of El-P’s records are considered masterworks in both dystopic lyrical density as well as otherworldly production reminiscent of the walls of sound once produced by Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad.

In early 2012 he was put in touch with Atlanta’s Killer Mike through a mutual friend at Williams Street Records, the label that’s associated with Adult Swim, which is also based in Atlanta. Mike came up through Outkast’s Dungeon Family, with several critical acclaimed works of his own while also occasionally stealing the show with guest verses on Outkast tracks, most notably the incredible “Flip Flop Rock” on Speakerboxxx, where he stood among the giants of industry in former beard of the day Big Boi and Jay-Z.

The two developed such a rapport El-P produced Mike’s brilliant R.A.P. Music in 2012 and became fast friends, leading them to collaborate on a project they called Run The Jewels, named after a brief stick up scene at the beginning of LL Cool J’s “Cheesy Rat Blues”. Backed by El’s assaulting production, his lyrical dexterity has perfectly complimented Mike’s fiery political delivery, and the two have surged to the top of every critic’s best-of lists with two albums that contain absolutely no filler and are even more bone crushing live. Run The Jewels 2 was widely regarded not only as the best rap record in ages, but also as the best record, period, of 2014, and it along with its predecessor were released completely for free.

So now that they’re here, there’s only one way to keep what they’ve got, and it’s an appropriate message now that the postseason has reached June: Lie, Cheat, Steal. Kill, Win. Everybody doin’ it.